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Florida Wanted “Opposing Viewpoints” on Slavery in A.P. African American Studies Course

The DeSantis administration was fighting with the College Board for an astonishing reason, according to a new report.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration officials opposed the College Board’s new Advanced Placement African American studies course due to its lack of “opposing viewpoints” on slavery.

A new report from the Miami Herald sheds more context on Florida’s fight against the College Board and Black history specifically.

According to internal state comments, the reviewers believed the A.P. course’s depiction of chattel slavery did not promote both sides of history. One lesson on how Europeans benefited from trading enslaved people “may lead to a viewpoint of an ‘oppressor vs. oppressed’ based solely on race or ethnicity,” reviewers noted.

The DeSantis administration successfully got the College Board to water down its A.P. African American studies course earlier this year. The new curriculum cut lessons on critical race theory, reparations, Black Lives Matter, and several prominent queer Black writers.

Florida officials’ objection to the lack of “opposing viewpoints” on slavery occurred numerous times and was not previously reported.

“There is no other perspective on slavery other than it was brutal,” Mary Pattillo, a sociology professor and the department chair of Black Studies at Northwestern University, told the Miami Herald. “It was exploitative, it dehumanized Black people, it expropriated their labor and wealth for generations to come.”

Earlier this summer, Florida unveiled new social studies school curriculum that teaches students that enslaved people benefited from slavery and that Black people were also perpetrators of violence during race massacres.

The DeSantis administration also approved curriculum for public schools from the right-wing advocacy group PragerU last month. Course content includes a lesson in which Frederick Douglass calls slavery a “compromise.”

Tennessee Republicans Block Gun Reform, Abruptly Adjourn Until Next Year

The House floor broke out into chants of “Vote them out,” after Republicans adjourned the session.

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Protesters gather inside the Tennessee State Capitol to demand gun control in March.

The Tennessee House of Representatives burst into chaos Tuesday when Republicans voted to adjourn a special session on public safety, after ignoring widespread demands for increased gun control.

The state legislature convened the special session last week in response to a mass shooting in March, when a gunman opened fire on an elementary school and killed three children and three adults. State Republicans have insisted that there is nothing they could have done or could do differently to prevent such a tragedy—and they appear determined to make good on that claim.

The Senate had adjourned earlier Tuesday, closing the chamber until January. House Republicans forced through a motion to adjourn the chamber, also until January, moments before Democratic Representative Justin Jones—one of the formerly expelled Tennessee Three—could call for a vote of no confidence of Speaker Cameron Sexton. When Sexton gaveled through the motion adjourning the House, the chamber erupted.

Spectators began to chant, “Vote them out!” and “Shame!” As Sexton tried to leave, Jones and Democratic Representative Justin Pearson, another member of the Tennessee Three, followed him, waving protest signs. At one point, Sexton’s shoulder appeared to bump Pearson. Another Republican blocked Pearson from getting closer, while Sexton wheeled around and shouted at him, waving his finger in Pearson’s face.

Jones then went up to the speaker’s podium, banged the gavel, and shouted, “This House is out of order!” Pearson joined the protesters outside the chamber in the Capitol rotunda.

Democrats were infuriated by Republicans’ refusal to pass any gun control measures. “No one should leave this building today saying we made Tennessee safer,” Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari said. “Because that is simply not true. We didn’t enact any new policies, we didn’t meet the needs of these parents, who are just crying out for us to do something.”

“How long? How much longer will we allow ourselves to remain in this state?”

The special session has been tense from the start, when Republicans tried to ban signs from the House chamber, a direct response to the many protesters demanding increased gun control. Republicans also voted Monday to silence Jones for the day, prompting Democrats to walk out of the session in solidarity.

This was not the first time Republicans had tried to silence Jones. The GOP voted in March to expel Jones and Pearson, both of whom are Black, for allegedly breaking House rules by joining thousands of pro–gun control protesters. Republicans fell one vote short of expelling Gloria Johnson, a white woman, who also joined the protest.

Jones and Pearson were unanimously reinstated by their district councils and then reelected in landslide victories in a special election earlier this month.

Federal Prosecutors Want to Know How Drunk Giuliani Was While Advising Trump

Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating whether Trump was taking advice from an inebriated lawyer when trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Rudy Giuliani, standing at a podium, points to a sign with a map of the United States and the title "Multiple Pathways to Victory"
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Rudolph Giuliani, then attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on November 19, 2020.

Jack Smith has been asking witnesses whether Rudy Giuliani was regularly drunk on and after Election Day 2020. If he was, and Donald Trump knew, then it could undermine one of the former president’s main defenses in his federal election interference lawsuit.

Trump was indicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, one of four indictments. He is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote. One of his main defenses has been that he really believed he had won the election and was acting on the advice of his counsel—in this case, Giuliani.

But investigators for Smith, who is probing Trump for election interference and for allegedly mishandling classified documents, have repeatedly asked whether Giuliani was drunk in the weeks he was advising Trump about how to stay in office, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The investigation team has asked whether Trump ever mentioned Giuliani’s drinking habits or complained that the drinking affected Giulinia’s decision-making process. Investigators also asked whether Trump was warned about Giuliani’s allegedly excessive drinking, especially after the 2020 election.

Some witnesses reportedly told Rolling Stone that they saw Giuliani drinking heavily or could smell alcohol on his breath, including on Election night, and that his behavior changed before and after he drank. Some witnesses also said that Trump had previously spoken negatively about Giuliani’s drinking.

If Smith’s team can prove this in court, then they could undermine Trump’s advice-of-counsel defense. If Trump relied on a lawyer that he knew was drunk and acting recklessly, then that would add to the prosecutors’ argument that Trump was acting with willful recklessness in his attempts to overturn the election.

Giuliani denied the allegations of drunkenness. “It’s unfortunate that political opponents would use a serious problem like alcoholism as part of their efforts to smear Mayor Rudy Giuliani—a man who took down the Mafia, cleaned up New York City, and comforted the world following the September 11th terrorist attacks,” Giuliani’s political advisor Ted Goodman said in a statement to The New Republic.

This isn’t the first time that Giuliani’s alleged drunkenness has come up in a lawsuit. Giuliani’s former associate Noelle Dunphy sued him in May, accusing him of promising to pay her a $1 million annual salary but instead raping and sexually abusing her over the course of two years. Her lawsuit alleges that Giuliani was constantly drunk, talked openly about trying to overturn the 2020 election, and even plotted to sell pardons with Donald Trump for $2 million each.

This article has been updated.

A Young Vivek Ramaswamy Questioned Candidate’s Lack of “Political Experience”

In a viral resurfaced video, a younger Vivek Ramaswamy seemed to understand the importance of political experience when running for office.

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Vivek Ramaswamy’s past as a sensible young college student is coming back to haunt him.

An old video of a young Ramaswamy asking Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton about his lack of “political experience” has quickly gone viral.

“My question for you is, of all the Democratic candidates out there, why should I vote for the one with the least political experience?” an 18-year-old Ramaswamy asked Sharpton during a 2003 town hall on MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews.

Sharpton was quick to fire back, “Well you shouldn’t, because I have the most political experience!”

Ramaswamy’s question is more than a little ironic now, seeing as Ramaswamy entered the 2024 presidential race with no political experience.

Ramaswamy responded to the video going viral on Twitter. “I’ll give the 18-year-old version of myself a pat-on-the-back for eliciting the most sensible words ever to come from that man’s mouth,” Ramaswamy wrote. “20 years later, it’s funny how the tables have turned.”

Yes, it is funny that at one point Ramaswamy understood the importance of voting for the candidate with political experience, but any such wisdom has since evaporated from his mind.

Republican Rep. Nearly Blames Hurricanes on Climate Change on Fox News

Representative Barry Loudermilk came so, so close to accurately describing Hurricane Idalia.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Barry Loudermilk came so close to blaming climate change for hurricanes on Fox News.

The Georgia Republican nearly made the connection on Fox News Monday night, while discussing Hurricane Idalia, a Category 1 hurricane that is rapidly approaching the Florida coast; experts say Idalia could strengthen into a Category 3 storm before it is expected to make landfall Wednesday. Loudermilk compared the storm to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on the Gulf Coast 17 years ago almost to the day.

“I think we’re on the anniversary of Katrina, today, one of the worst storms in history,” Loudermilk said. “If it was climate change, if it’s continuing to get worse, then would you not see more and more of this storm being worse and worse?”

Well put, Loudermilk, even if it was a total accident.

Loudermilk is, of course, a climate change denier. In 2014, Loudermilk told The Atlanta Journal Constitution, “I believe that climate change is a function of nature; the climate has been changing as long as the Earth has existed.” He supported President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017.

But his words on Fox news are true: These storms are in fact getting worse thanks to climate change.

Hurricanes strengthen over warm ocean waters—storms need a temperature of around 82 degrees to start forming—while warmer air holds more moisture and can also help intensify storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that parts of the ocean off Florida’s coast are more than four degrees hotter than the usual average for August; one measurement taken off the Florida Keys showed that the water was a shocking 91.2 degrees. Following one of the hottest summers on record, the “wildly hot” waters in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to rapidly intensify Hurricane Idalia. The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly affirmed that rising sea surface temperatures caused by climate change have led to an increase in tropical cyclone intensity, duration, and frequency.

Matt Schlapp Tried to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Six-Figure Offer

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp has denied the accusations against him. But a new report says he secretly tried to settle.

Matt Schlapp stands in front of a huge CPAC logo
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Conservative activist Matt Schlapp tried to settle the multimillion-dollar sexual battery and defamation lawsuit against him, but his offer was denied.

Schlapp is the head of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Committee Conference. He and his wife are being sued by Republican strategist Carlton Huffman, who accused Schlapp of groping him while Huffman was working as a staffer on Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign.

Schlapp in March offered Huffman a sum in the low six figures to settle the suit, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the situation. Huffman countered with a significantly higher amount, which Schlapp turned down.

The Schlapps’ publicist denied that they had offered to settle, telling The Daily Beast, “From the outset Mr. and Mrs. Schlapp have been and remain prepared to go to trial and are confident of prevailing in court.”

Huffman’s lawyer called the denial “categorically false.”

Huffman alleges that Schlapp made “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while he was driving the ACU chief back from an Atlanta bar in October. Huffman says Schlapp bought him drinks at two different bars and then proceeded to grope his crotch on the drive back to Schlapp’s hotel. When they arrived at the hotel, Schlapp allegedly invited Huffman to his room.

Huffman recorded several tearful videos of himself describing what happened. “Matt Schlapp of the CPAC grabbed my junk and pummeled it at length, and I’m sitting there thinking what the hell is going on, that this person is literally doing this to me,” he says in one video.

“From the bar to the Hilton Garden Inn, he has his hands on me. And I feel so fucking dirty. I feel so fucking dirty.”

The revelation of Schlapp’s settlement offer may cause more people to doubt his denials. He reportedly made the offer without consulting the ACU board. While a settlement is not technically an admission of guilt, this is the latest step Schlapp has taken without including the ACU.

In addition to not letting the board vote on the settlement offer, Schlapp has refused to allow for an internal investigation and has gone out of his way to avoid discussing the accusation during board meetings. Multiple sources described his actions to The Daily Beast as “bizarre.”

Schlapp’s behavior is also starting to alienate former allies. Charlie Gerow, who resigned as ACU vice president on Friday, used to be a full-throated Schlapp defender. But when he resigned, he urged the board to investigate any and all allegations against Schlapp. The next day, two more sexual misconduct accusations were revealed to have been made.

Former Judge Trashes “Stunningly Stupid” Move From Trump’s Legal Team

Trump’s legal team tried to compare his trial to a landmark Supreme Court case.

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Donald Trump’s legal team tried comparing his federal trial date to the case of the Scottsboro Boys, a move that a retired judge called “stunningly stupid.”

District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set Trump’s election interference trial for March 4, 2024. Before she made her final decision, Trump’s lawyers tried to request a later trial date by comparing Trump’s case to Powell v. Alabama, also known as the Scottsboro Boys case. The Scottsboro Boys were nine Black teenagers accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931. The boys were rushed to trial, during which they had terrible legal representation, and convicted just days after the alleged incident. The Supreme Court overturned their convictions the following year, and the case is frequently cited as a glaring example of racial injustice in the U.S. legal system.

“The moment in that hearing that struck me, I only have two words to describe it as ‘stunningly stupid.’ And that was when Trump’s attorney compared their desire to delay the case to what happened in the case of Powell v. Alabama,” LaDoris Cordell told CNN Monday night about Trump’s hearing, referring to the Supreme Court case that overturned the Scottsboro convictions.

“What the Trump team did was say that, well, what happened in that trial is what could happen here in this trial, which is absolutely absurd.”

Judge Chutkan, of course, dismissed the comparison and set Trump’s trial date for the heart of the Republican primary season.

Trump was indicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, one of four indictments. His legal team proposed the trial begin in April 2026, well after the presidential election. The hope was likely that Trump would have been reelected by then and could avoid federal charges.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who investigated Trump for this indictment and for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, requested that the trial begin in January. Chutkan said neither date was appropriate and set the trial for March—the day before Super Tuesday.

Cordell said she suspected Chutkan, who is Black, was “offended” by the comparison to the Scottsboro Boys. Chutkan has already begun receiving death threats from Trump supporters.

Georgia Republican Says Trump Has “Moral Compass” of “Ax Murderer”

Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan is not mincing words.

Geoff Duncan surrounded by a crowd. (He looks pretty orange, but it may just be the sun.)
Ben Hendren/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Geoff Duncan, the Republican former lieutenant governor of Georgia

Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan tore into Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, slamming the former president as having the “moral compass” of an “ax murderer.”

Trump surrendered to Georgia authorities last week on charges of felony racketeering for trying to overturn the state’s election results after the 2020 general election. Duncan, a Republican, was serving as lieutenant governor to Brian Kemp at the time.

“As a Republican, the dashboard is going off with lights and bells and whistles telling us all the warning things we need to know,” Duncan told CNN Monday night. “Ninety-one indictments, fake Republican, $8 trillion worth of debt—everything we need to see to not choose him as our nominee, including the fact he’s got the moral compass of, more like an ax murderer than a president.”

Duncan also described Trump’s wrongdoings as a “Ponzi scheme of lies” and a “two-plus-year crime spree from coast to coast.”

Trump and his 18 co-defendants will be arraigned in Georgia on September 6. Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong. But the state’s Republican leaders aren’t having any of it.

In addition to Duncan, Kemp is one of the few Republicans to have explicitly shut down Trump’s claims. Trump pleaded with Kemp to get the state legislature to override the election results and appoint new electors who would back Trump, but Kemp refused to cave.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp tweeted after Trump was indicted. “For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward—under oath—and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

Trump also infamously begged former Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact number needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump. Raffensperger has refused to play ball too.

“The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” he said after Trump was indicted. “You either have it, or you don’t.

Eminem Has Had Enough, Sends Cease and Desist to Vivek Ramaswamy

Eminem is fed up with the 2024 Republican candidate for using his music.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Eminem has asked Vivek Ramaswamy to stop using the rapper’s songs on his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy often performed (badly) as a libertarian rapper while he was at Harvard, and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was one of his favorite songs. Ramaswamy has since tried to reclaim his rapper status, freestyling terribly on Fox & Friends and performing “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair.

In a letter dated August 23, Eminem’s lawyer informed Ramaswamy’s campaign that Eminem objected to their repeated use of his music during their campaign stops.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Eminem opposes Ramaswamy using his music. The rapper has long made his political stances clear. He released a protest song against George W. Bush in 2004 that criticized the then president for invading Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. In 2017, Eminem wrote a song in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and released a freestyle rap railing against Donald Trump’s morals, policies, and racist behavior.

Ramaswamy, on the other hand, is more interested in sucking up to Trump, battling “wokeness,” and insisting that 9/11 was an inside job.

Ted Cruz Appears to Endorse Plowing Into Climate Protesters With Cars

The Texas senator approvingly shared a video of law enforcement ramming into peaceful protesters.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ted Cruz on Monday seemed to endorse using trucks to plow into peaceful protesters, when he shared a video of law enforcement doing exactly that.

Protesters set up a blockade on the road to Burning Man on Sunday to demand the Nevada festival ban the use of private jets and single-use plastics. Video captured by one demonstrator shows a police ranger driving a pickup truck into the blockade, knocking one person out of the way. The ranger then gets out, aims a weapon at the protesters and shouts at them to get on the ground. As one protester screams at the rangers that they are peaceful and unarmed and begs them to stop, the officer pushes another protester to the ground and kneels on top of them while handcuffing them.

Cruz retweeted the video, writing, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

This isn’t the first time that Cruz has denigrated peaceful protesters. When the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked last year, crowds of peaceful protesters gathered outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. Cruz inaccurately slammed the demonstrations as “mob violence.”

For someone who talks so much about protecting First Amendment rights, Cruz seems to have forgotten that the First Amendment includes the freedom of assembly.